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Indies urged to review business strategies

Fashion independents must review their trading tactics in the recession, according to Range Consulting, a consultancy firm geared towards helping indies make the most of their businesses.

Range Consulting’s founders Sarah Walls and Jill Whitehead have a combined 30 years experience in retail working for the likes of multiples Topshop and Laura Ashley, and are urging indies to maximise sales by changing their approach to retail and using promotions.
According to the pair, independents need a pin-sharp approach to key retail activities such as planning, budgeting and promotions when it comes to trading during a recession.

“Some indies don’t look in enough detail at how they are performing. If it was a good week they don’t dig to find out why, and it’s the same if they have a bad week,” said Walls. “It is tempting to try and sit out the recession, but there are a number of strategies that can be implemented to make the most of this season.”

Walls said: “Among our tips are to take your financial goals for the balance of the season and split them down into months. Run basic spreadsheets with sales plans and stock by week and review it regularly.”

She added: “See if suppliers are willing to do sale or return and monitor bad performers. Do you have more coming in or similar styles outstanding? If so, can you stop the delivery? Review your other cost centres such as landlords and banks. If a sales plan is missed, then what can be done to get it back in the next month?”

Walls added: “Don’t let it get to the end of the season before thinking about it. Your options by then are just to cut prices.”

Promotional tactics

1. Decide purpose of promotion
2. Place adverts in local press
3. Increase customers’ spend, for example by giving money off accessories when bought with clothing
4. Encourage customers to buy in larger volumes, such as with buy one, get one free offers

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